Wednesday, May 2, 2012

1 Peter 3 - 5

1 Peter 3:1-7 – Submission

Chapter 3
Here we go again more scripture on submitting so it must be important to God.  “Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives,”(1 Peter 3:1).  In chapter 2 slaves are to submit to their masters and we are to submit to authorities.  In the same way, wives are to submit to husbands according to the example of Jesus.   Submission does not mean to put a husband in place of Christ.  It doesn’t mean to give up independent thinking, to give up efforts to influence her husband, or to give in to every demand of her husband.  It’s not based on less intelligence or competence.  It is not meant for wives to be fearful and timid.  It definitely doesn’t mean wives are not equal in Christ.  Instead what it does mean is to have a quality of gentleness affirming the leadership of her husband, being obedient like Sarah and acknowledging authority.  Wives should submit without nagging.  Marriage is very important to God and submission is a command of God.  God’s established the order of the family.   God’s hierarchy is God, Christ, man, and woman.  Wives don’t submit because your husband deserves it, but because our Lord Jesus Christ deserves it.  It’s not that you love your husband that much, but because you love Jesus more.

Peter warns that beauty should not come from our outward adornment, but it’s the inner beauty that counts.  We should have a gentle quiet spirit, which produces kind words and gentle actions and look to past examples like Sarah who obeyed Abraham.  Outward beauty focuses attention to ourselves.  Inward beauty focuses on Jesus.

Also husbands should be considerate and have respect for their wives.  It’s hard to submit when there is no respect.  Women are usually the weaker sex so husbands need to love and protect them.  Husbands should understand her spiritual, physical, and emotional needs.

Christ-like submission in marriage reveals the heart of God to our husband and family.

What do you need God to how you to submit to your husband?
What are you nagging your husband about?
Who will you pray for?  When you pray for someone, you love them more and more.
Who is your role model?  Is it the girls on the magazine cover?
Does your refection in the mirror matter most or your refection in Christ?
What will you change to be obedient to the Lord?

1 Peter 3:8-4:9 – Suffering

Peter describes several desirable characteristics for Christians when dealing with each other.  Christians are to live in harmony, be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble and not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing. – (1 Peter 3:8-9).  We should talk out problems calmly, make every effort to carry each other’s troubles and burdens, recognize others’ sorrows, be sensitive to the feelings of others and desire only the good for others.  We as Christians have benefits for our Christlike behavior.  We inherit a blessing, the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, His ears hear our prayers, and He is on our side and is against those who do evil. – (1 Peter 3:9-12).

1 Peter 3:13-17 reminds us as Christians how to suffer for righteousness sake.  We are not to be afraid of whatever persecutors may do or say, because He is set apart in our hearts and is ruler and has all authority.  We are always to be prepared to give an answer to anyone who asks for the reason for our hope.  We are to do this in gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience.

Is your life generating anyone’s curiosity?
Can you describe the faithfulness of God even when you are suffering?  Our response to suffering opens doors to be a witness for God.

1 Peter 3:19-20“… he went and preached to the spirits in prison who disobeyed long ago…”  There are various interpretations of the spirits this verse. 1) spirits in prison between His death and resurrection, Christ offered salvation to those in Hades who missed it on earth (see Matt. 25:31-46; 2 Co. 5:10);  2) or at that time, He preached to angels that sinned;  3) or before the flood, Christ’s Spirit through Noah preached to people then living (Noah was a preacher of righteousness, 2 Peter 2:5);  4) or spirits were in prison of sin before the flood;  5) or spirits were in prison when Peter wrote.  I think these spirits in prison are fallen angels held in prison waiting for judgment – see Jude 6, 2 Peter 2:4-5, 9.  He went there to proclaim His victory over sin and to declare His finished work, not to share the gospel.

Chapter 4
We are to live for God.  We are not to live with earthly desires like pagans who live in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry.  Pagans are those who don’t follow God.  They will be judged because they refused salvation.  Jesus carried the sins of the world, but they chose to carry their own and will be judged for it.  He wants people to know Him so much that He was willing to die for all and He wants everyone to be saved. 

We are to live responsibly until Christ’s return.  We are to be clear minded and self-controlled so that we can pray.  We are to love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.  To cover sin is to forgive them.  “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.” – (Ps. 32:1).  We are to offer hospitality without grumbling and use whatever gifts we have to serve others.  “Do everything without complaining and arguing”(Phil. 2:14).  When we speak, we are to speak as if they were the very words of God.  When serving, we should do it with the strength God provides so God will be praised and glorified. – (1 Peter 4:7-11).

How do you show love toward others?
How is it possible to obey all these commands?  It is possible by the power of the Lord.

“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering….”(1 Peter 4:12).  We as followers of Christ will suffer, but there are advantages of our suffering.  We will be overjoyed for our suffering when Jesus returns.  If we are insulted because of the name of Christ, we are blessed for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on us. – (1 Peter 4:13-19).

Believers’ suffering for obedience to God's will are blessed by entrusting themselves to God.

How might you be completely faithful?
Are you alert and notice needs of others around you?

Your suffering may have redemptive value for someone else.  Knowing that, how will you respond?  We lead by suffering and we serve by suffering.  Sincere submission requires humility.  Suffering produces patience.  Suffering is a way that God blesses us.  He uses suffering for our benefit by purify us through it.

How are you suffering right now?  God knows your pain.  He cares for you.  You are not alone.  He will bring you strength to get through it.

Chapter 5
Pastoral leadership was important then as it is now.  Elders are teachers and leaders of the church and are examples and instructors of faith.  They are not to be proud and think they are the boss, but are there to serve others.  They are to be shepherds like the Chief Shepherd, Jesus.  Christians, especially new Christians need their encouragement and support.  They will be rewarded with a crown glory that will never fade away. – (1 Peter 5:4). 

If you are a leader in your church, what is your attitude? 
Are you honoring your Saviors’ example?
Are you serving in humility?

Younger people should show humility and have a submissive spirit to older Christians.  They should treat them with respect for their knowledge, maturity, and experiences.

We are to give all our worries to God.  Cast all our anxiety on him because he cares for you.”(Peter 5:7).  A proud person does not cast his anxiety on anyone.  They think they can do it alone.  We are to be humble in the sight of the Lord.  We must trust that God will take care of us in every situation.  We are to be self-controlled and alert, resist the devil, and stand firm in the faith.  Satan is just waiting for Christians to become lazy.  He is out to deceive and destroy.  He is the enemy and opposes Christians.  He wants us to fail.  Christians must fight the devil and not give in.  We must trust God and be strong.  Peter wants us to know that the attacks of the devil will not last, but the Glory of Christ will never end.

Peter started his letter with a greeting of peace saying, “Grace and peace be yours in abundance.”(1 Peter 1:2).  Now he closes with a greeting of peace.  “Peace to all of you who are in Christ.”(1 Peter 5:14).  Because of Christ, they can know God’s gift of peace in their lives even in difficult times.

God’s grace makes us strong and steadfast when we humbly submit to Him.

What worry do you need to submit to God?  Stand on the promises of God.  He promises to restore you when you suffer.

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